His first veggie-forward concept has been open less than a week, but José Andrés is already planning another Beefsteak.
During lunch at the new fast-casual restaurant on Tuesday afternoon (Andrés braved the 15-minute line. Stars! They're just like us!) he confirmed a second Beefsteak at 1528 Connecticut Ave. NW, north of Dupont Circle, opening early this summer, with more locations already in the works.
Beefsteak is the first entry into the Chipotle-style fast-food market from Andrés, but with a twist: Instead of first choosing a protein, guests are first presented with an array of fresh vegetables. The only non-vegetarian choices -- salmon, chicken, and a poached egg -- are add-ons, rather than the focus of the meal. As he told The Post last year: “We don’t like to call it vegetarian. We want to call it tasty, fun, sexy, good-looking.”
The restaurant opened quietly on Friday on the campus of the George Washington University, where Andrés serves as an adviser on food initiatives. Even without the fanfare of a grand opening, Andrés said they served more than 850 meals on Monday.
You might think you know the drill from visiting similar concepts like Cava Mezze and Sweetgreen, but Beefsteak subtly switches the formula. Though you can choose among four chef-created bowls of grains and veggies, Andrés said he prefers it when people creatively mix and match their own bowls.
When you come through the line, you'll encounter a first set of vegetables -- asparagus, kale, corn and a rotation of seasonal favorites -- that Andrés says are pre-chopped to an optimal length and width to ensure a perfect texture when they're boiled in machines that look a bit like deep-fryers.
After a day of cooking veggies, the water becomes a rich vegetable stock, Andrés notes -- eventually, he thinks they'll find ways to repurpose it. He also plans to expand the menu to include other veggie dishes, such as gazpacho.
After your veggies are cooked in front of you, you can add grains like rice, quinoa or bulgur, and sauces, like a spicy tomato or cilantro or yogurt. Then come the nuts, cold veggies and other toppings, like seaweed. Bowls cost between $6.99 and $12.99, depending on how fancy you decide to get with the extras. You can also get juices, which change daily, and Andrés-branded potato chips. There's a small selection of beer and wine, too.
The result is sort of like a more-eccentric version of bimimbap. Every bite is different. The flavor even changes the longer the bowl sits, as the sauces soak into the grains: "It's almost like the best part is the last four bites," Andrés said.
Beefsteak, 800 22nd St. NW. (Metro: Foggy Bottom)